What's the closest you've been to death?

I don’t mean in seeing death or witnessing it…I mean being to death yourself.

Have a close shave sometime?
Bad acccident you were lucky in?
Near call?
Disease or virus that almost spelled the end for you?

Was your life ever in question in a split moment?
What’s the closest you’ve come to death?

Me, it happened this morning. I was walking through my living room and tripped over one of my cats that’s always underfoot. Now my coffee table (which I got from my mom) sits in the middle of the room…one corner of it is sharpened to about a 4 inch spike that’s sharp. This is from my little brother who spent one whole day fashioning it like that long ago.

So anyway, I trip…and fall face first into the table but STOP with my hands myself from going right into (and possibly through) that spike. If I had, it would have entered my right eye…and probably just continued out the back of my head. : / It’s not a thin wooden spike…it’s thick. So yeah. I have rug burns on my hands from stopping myself so quickly and hard, but at least I’m still among the living.
The table now rests against the wall where it will stay.

Oh my. Poor Idle Thoughts! Glad you’re oK.

My closest time to death was when I was 2, in India, I caught a severe case of malaria.

My aunts came home to find my bio mom cooking something on the stovetop, reading a romance novel, while I shivered and turned blue in the corner. They dropped everything and took me back on the bus - no personal conveyance, remember? and took me to hospital. They were dreadfully worried, but luckily a good dose of quinine clears up malaria. It was touch-and-go for a while, though.

I caught it again at 15, and certainly *thought *I was going to die.

No injury but . . .

I was driving home from work. I stopped at an intersection where I wanted to make a left turn to get onto a freeway, third in line. The green arrow comes on. The guy in front makes his turn, the pickup in front of me makes his turn. I start to move, focussing on the p-u in case he slows for some reason. Luckily, I catch movement out of the corner of my eye, jam on the brakes, and watch aghast as an Olde Fart (It’s amazing what details you notice in a split second) coming the other way in a van blasts through the intersection at, or a little above, the speed limit.

He screeched to a stop about fifty yards past the intersection. Mouth literally agape, I locked eyes for a moment with a guy waiting for the green in the inner lane on the other side of the intersection – he looked about as shocked as I was. I briefly considered pulling behind the asshole and remonstrating with him, but figured I’d only get arrested for assault or worse, and went on my way.

I have never been so adversely effected in my life. Several times that night, I awoke from a nightmare of something barreling towards me. Short on sleep, I dragged to work the next day, futzed around for about two hours, then begged to go home early. There, a good dose of J-D and a long nap restored me back to (mostly) normal.


Agent Foxtrot and I were driving back from a hippie festival in West Virginia with two friends. We were driving down a winding little road through the mountains, taking it slow, about 20 miles per hour. It had rained and the road was still slippery. As we rounded a curve, the car started hydroplaning, and we smashed into a guard-rail. Were it not for that guard-rail, we would’ve gone clear off that 50-foot cliff into the trees below. Our friend Don got out and kissed the rail in thanks.

I went to high school with him.

I’ve mentioned this before on the boards, but I had blood poisoning one time, but didn’t know what it was. I left a job and took the TTC across Toronto to go to the ER. By the time I got there, the purple line from my infected finger went up my arm, around my armpit and was just about on top of where my heart is. The intake nurse leapt up to go get a doctor, and he gave me a massive dose of penicillin, plus some pills. He said that when I walked in, I had about 20 minutes to live. I mentioned this, too, but I think it bears repeating. It was the only time I’ve seen a doctor’s eyes get big like saucers. They’re supposed to have a cool, professional demeanor, but I’m sure he had to stop himself from saying “holy shit!” I would have keeled over and never known what hit me.

I was hit by a car and broke my leg in three places while walking to work last year.

The impact itself wasn’t that bad but a day or two later I had to be transferred to ICU because the doctors suspected that some bone marrow had dislodged and obstructed one of my blood vessels, causing a pulmonary embolism, making it impossible for my lungs to get enough oxygen, and almost leading to my death through asphyxiation.

It wasn’t until months later that I realized just how close I had come to dying.

Ah, I get to tell The Story ™. Brace yourself, it’s a long one.

The following is partially remembered, and partially based off of what my parents have told me.

When I was five years old, I would spend my afternoons after kindergarden at the neighbor’s house, playing with their daughter who was the same age. One particular February day, I was following my usual shitck, hanging out in the backyard with Jenny while under the supervision her mom, when the phone rings inside the house. Jenny’s mom goes inside to answer it to find that it’s Jenny’s dad calling from his new job, and of course he wants to say hello to his little princess. So Jenny goes inside as well, leaving me alone outside.

Alone, that is, except for their three german shepards.

Now, I had no way of knowing this at the time, but this job for the dad was his first after a long dry spell, long enough to make the times tough for them and force them ot tighten their belts a bit. One way they did this was to cut back on how much they fed the dogs. Sure, they could have given them up to the pound, but they were considered part of the family and I don’t think they were ready to let go of them completely.

So, make that alone except for three hungry german shepards.

All three were from the same litter, one named Shadow, since he was completely black except for for his left from paw, one named Lady since she was the only female in the litter, and the named Bear because he was simply huge.

It was Bear that I was petting while I waited for Jenny and her mom to get back. As I remember it, I actually was able to pet him for a while with nothing happening. However, one moment I’m scrathing his head, then in a flash I’m laying prone with his jaws snapping at me and one of his nails digging into my right leg about an inch above the knee. A split second later, Lady runs over to try to drive Bear off of me, but the disparity in size is such that it takes almost no time for Bear to drive her off. Instead, as he sinks his teeth into my left thigh, she tries to pull me away by biting into my scalp. All the while, as I’m pinned on the right, shaken on the left, and pulled on the top, Shadow is barking like crazy, front feet on the chain link fence separating Jenny’s and my yard, trying to grab the attention of anyone who might be home.

I have no concept of how long things went on like this, but eventually I come to find myself gathered in the arms of Jenny’s mom, listening to her frantic apologies of “oh-my-God-oh-my-God-I’m-so-sorr–oh-my-God”. I was rushed back over to my house and my mom, bawling my eyes out as I was sat down in the armchair in the living room, detatched from the bustle as they try to clean the wound or call my dad back from his job. It was then, after they had taken me out of my tattered coveralls, that I had a good look at the damage. My vision blurred by tears, all saw at first an expanse crimson, yet with an small, odd patch of off-white in the center. Yet when the tears fell, I saw what it for what it was: my exposed bone. My eyes raced away from the sight and I spent the rest of the ordeal making sure I kept looking straight ahead.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite the end of the story. You see, I grew up in the boonies, aboslutely bare-assed middle of nowhere. So the nearest hospital? Thirty minutes away.

With the wound cleaned, dad called and promising to meet us at the hospital, and another neighbor with an extra car found who could drive, we set out. At this point, I’m really not aware of what’s going on around me, not quite blacking out, but perhaps more like graying out. We arrive at the hospital and get rushed in to see my pediatrician, who takes one look at me and nearly faints. Keeping her eyes averted, she calls in another doctor to help us. The news? “Our facilities can’t handle this.” They prep me as much as they can, though all I remember is a lot of gauze, and we’re off on an hour drive into the city.

It’s kinda odd what sticks in your memory sometimes. I don’t remember any of the drive to the new hospital or even the building itself, except for it’s emergency room lobby… looked like mosaic tilework in earthen tones. I thought it looked rather lovely. And then I did black out completely.

When I first came to, I was on my back and, though my eyes wouldn’t quite focus all the way, I could make out the bright lights on the cieling and the shadowy figures surrounding me. A thousand questions filled my mind - “Who are you?” “Where’s mom?” “Where’s dad?” “What’s going on?!” - but they each contented with each other for control of my mouth, rendering the end result “Who… whe… whe… wha… WAAAAAAHHH”. And for some reason, the figures around me were unable to discern what I was trying to say from such articulate concerns. Instead they just kept repeating “Shh… don’t worry, it’s only water… it’s only water.” I never did figure out what they were referring to. Perhaps the were cleaning off the wound a bit more? I wasn’t aware of anything else, so it could have been anything, but it did mean there was one more question trying to make the mad dash from my brain to my mouth: “What are you talking about?”. After not too long, I regained enough control of my body to try to look around to get a sense of where I was, though the end result was just some spasming. At that point, one of the shadowy figures sighed and said “Nurse, if you would…” and spouted off a string of gibberish, or at least gibberish to a five year-old. Before I knew it, I was falling back into unconsciousness.

From then until a few weeks later there is a gap in my memory; it wasn’t that I forgot what happened so much as that it seemed no time had passed. In any case, I was staying at home from school, sleeping on the living room couch so that I’d be right next to the front door and easy to check up on. With nothing better to do, I made it my goal to be able to walk across the room. I would try, fall to the floor, crawl back to the couch, then sleep it off so I could try again. I tell you, there was nothing that could complete with the feeling of pride I had when I finally did reach that far wall.

Anyway… that’s enough rambling for one sitting. :slight_smile:

Hayden Sikh, good one. And your story’s not bad either. :wink:

Three from me:

Age 14 or so, the height of my most obnoxious adolescent phase. It was the first week of the summer holiday’s and I planned to go into the city centre with a friend that morning. The city in question being Jerusalem. My mother said no, I had to help with the housework. I fumed and spluttered, told her I hated her, all the usual teenage endearments. But I didn’t go to the city centre, and as a result, neither did my friend. At lunch, we switched on the radio to listen to the 1:00 news. A bomb had gone off (this was pre-suicide bombers) in the main square, more or less where we would have been. 15 people were killed.

This one verges on the comical. I’d just moved into my new house and set up my hammock between two trees in the back garden. The previous occupants had also had a hammock, and two rusty butchers hooks were tied to the trees, so I just hooked my hammock onto the existing set up. I lit myself a cigarette and got into the hammock. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground, a little dazed. I sat there for a few moments, smoking the cigarette, and realised that it was not just a bruised bum that was the problem. Something made me touch my neck. It was bloody. The butchers hook had catapulted off and gouged me in the neck. Millimetres away from the jugular. The thought of me bleeding to death alone in that garden, and not being discovered for days, pre-dates Bridget Jones’s alsatian fanatasies by several years.

Six years ago I was on an inter-city bus in Cuba. It was night, pitch dark, and I was in the front seat, right behind the driver, without a seatbelt. I was also about two months pregnant. The bus bumped and swerved violently, but the diver brought it to a slow stop. The whole windscreen shattered. We picked ourselves up, found there was no damage, and the driver explained that there were cows on the road, and that he’d hit one, but managed to avoid the others. When we got off the damaged bus, we looked back to see bits of dismembered cow. If the driver hadn’t acted swiftly, or if he’d been injured by the glass, the bus would not have stopped so safely and we would have ended up looking like that cow.

Two incidents:

The first one was when I was 9. My father was working for the UN in Ghana. I ate something dodgy. I remember puking down the side of my father’s white UN car and the next two weeks were spent in a delerium, punctuated by nightmares of hamfisted nurses. My temperature was well into the danger zone. I couldn’t eat anything fibrous for months afterwards.

The second was a few years back when I was involved in a serious car accident, and I was cut out of the car. Had the impact been higher speed, I would not be here now.

When I was about 13 or 14 I had an allergic reaction to something or other. I came home from a day out and slowly developed a skin rash. My mother treated this with a bi-carb bath and some topical solution that relieved it and I went to bed. At about 3 am I woke up and was walking to the toilet when I blacked out. Fortunately the hallway was narrow and I made lots of noise bouncing off the walls. When I woke up I was in hospital. Apparently my throat had swollen to the point that it was almost closed. My parents called an ambulance and they contemplated doing an emergency trachy on the way to the hospital but didn’t. They pumped me full of antihistamines and by midday I was gone.

It seems that if I hadn’t had to go to the toilet at 3 am I could have just quietly stopped breathing in bed. I never did find out what caused the reaction and never had anything like it again.

By this I don’t mean that I was dead, rather that I was on my way home. This post is not from the beyond.

This past June my stomach perferated. I was on the operating table 10 1/2 hours. The doc told me it was touch and go. He also told my mom - in all serioursness - that he believes he had “out side” help to save my life.

Those are some crazy experiances. Mine is a little stranger. For a while, I had been donating whole blood at office and school function. The South Florida Blood Center called me up, and asked me to donate platlets. The procedure’s called apheresis. If you can, I recomend it, since you can donate a coupla units of platlets every two weeks, instead of whole blood every six weeks.

When I started, we used this machine: http://www.neiu.edu/~rkastiga/blood.htm
Two needles, one in each arm, for about an hour and a half. Blood is drawn from one arm, the machine extracts some platelets, and returns blood mixed with saline solution into your other arm. You just watch a movie, and get cookies and juice afterwards. Yeay cookies.

After a year or so, the center threw out that machine and upgraded to this one. http://www.utmb.edu/bb/apheresis.htm Those bags that look half full of urine contain platlets. This machines takes half the time, and only uses a needle in one arm. That seems nifty, until I asked how the machine could draw blood and return blood in the same needle so quickly. What the machine does, is it draws blood for ten or fifteen minutes, and then it suddenly reverses the flow, pumping the blood it has drawn, mixed with saline solution, back into you in just a minut or two. I never really trusted this half a pint out, half a pint back in really really fast method, but I went with it.

Keep in mind that on the arm the needle is in, you get a blood pressure cuff put on above the level of the needle. This is because if the pressure rises or drops too much, the machine will shut off. At least, the old version would. One day, the nurse put the blood pressure cuff on, and put the needle in me. She used the left arm this time. The cuff felt much too tight, but I figured I might have just been a little stressesed, maybe my blood pressure would drop as I relaxed. After about ten minutes, my fingers had were falling asleep, and my fingernails were looking pale. I could feel the machien switch over to the high speed return, and it felt really peculiar, and a bit painful. I asked the nurse, “Ma’am, could you check this blood pressure cuff? It’s a bit too tight.” She obligingly came over, and relased the pressure on the cuff completely, preparing to inflate it gradually, until I was confortable with it.

Suddenly, blood and cold salie water being injected into a vein that lead directl to my heart at a pressure way over my blood pressure. The saline water is room temperature, and it usually feels a bit chilly. Having bunches of it injected at pressure into my heart made it feel like cold knives were cutting my arm and chest. I could feel the cold, high pressure water constricting my heart. Now I know exactly what the hand of death on the heart feels like. It felt like I was having a heart attack. The nurse shut off the machine, and I got up to “walk it off”. I figured that it was just a minor mix up, and I should just home. Afterall, people have much worse happen to them all the time. Why be a baby and make a big deal out of this? Half an hour later, my arm ached terribly, but my heart wasn’t racing.

The next day, I had a purple bruise that covered my whole left arm from elbow to arm pit. When I called and asked “How the heck did I get hurt donating blood?”, the director of the Blood Program for the county, an M.D. visited me at work, hemmed and hawed. Said he’d never seen this before, and then recomended I take a break for a while. He said the high pressure injection had been so high, tht when blood passed through my veins, it had squirted out through the walls of the veins, and was now pooled between muscle cells, and in my chest. It took weeks to clear up. If they hadn’t shut down the machine manually, cold, high pressure blood would have just kept being extruded from my veins, into body cavities, and caused I don’t want to imagine what trouble.

Icy hand of Death: 1 Me: 0

Two weeks after Ivyboy was born, I had horrible stomach cramps. I was in Orlando, Ivylad was in San Diego with the Navy, and I had a new baby with no husband.

I was planning on moving back in with my folks, and on this particular day (Saturday), I could not get out of bed. I would wake up when my son cried, nurse him, and go back to sleep. I was freezing, so I turned the heat on in my apartment. In Florida. In August.

Ivylad called, and I couldn’t stand up to answer the phone, I had to hobble bent over double. As it happens, I was supposed to have some folks come over and help me pack up and move, but it was noon and I hadn’t called anyone yet to tell them it was okay to come over.

I tell Ivylad my stomach hurts, he calls his mother and sister, and they come over and take me to the hospital. I was there for 10 days while they tried to figure out what was wrong. My OB/GYN was not called until Monday because they didn’t want to “bother” him over the weekend, and I can tell you, he was quite pissed about that.

It turns out my appendix had burst. Ivylad had come home for our son’s birth, and I guess (I wasn’t told this until later) there was a chance I wasn’t going to make it, so he asked for leave again. Some lieutenant was going by the books, Ivylad had used up all his time off, ergo, he wasn’t going anywhere.

Ivylad gave him his parents’ address, informed him the MPs could pick him up there, and went back to the barracks to pack. Fortunately his chief petty officer was there, told him to hang on, and got my doctor (a captain) to call the lieutenant. A few tight-lipped “Yes sirs” later and Ivylad got his leave papers approved.

I didn’t need surgery, because apparently my appendix had burst and sealed itself off, and there were pockets of pus in my abdomen they were able to suck out with a syringe.

I don’t have any stories, I just want to point out how fascinating it is to have an OP that is literally impossible to have counterstories to what is asked.

Carry on.

These experiences are all so different! You never realize how many ways a person can die.

When I was about 9, I shared a bedroom with my brother, bunk beds, he slept on the top one. One night in the summer I decided to sleep facing the open window to catch a breeze, so I reversed position.

Sometime in the night the metal thing holding the top bunk broke, and one end of the bed fell. It landed on the pillow where I usually slept. Mom thinks it would have crushed my skull.

Another time at work I passed out and hit the floor. Not sure why, might have been related to dental work and not eating. The plant nurse said my BP was 60/40, or 40/60, or something potentially deadly. He started an IV (clinic across the street), and I think he probably saved my life.

Well, there goes my hypothesis that Sydney, Australia is the city of the dead.

My story isn’t much. When I was very young, possibly even before preschool, I was in the hospital for some period of time greater than a day. I know it was athsma related and that I wasn’t in too great shape. It must have beeen bad because I don’t even remeber getting to the hospital, just being there one day.

I’ve often wondered how many times I’ve been nearly killed and remained totally oblivious …, anyway here’s a fairly recent one that I WAS DEFINITELY aware of.

I was kayaking in West Virginia on a river I was not very familiar with. Another member of our group (more familiar with the river) warned me to stay well clear of a particular boulder where the main current flowed into and under the rock (known as an undercut). I was doing great till I hit a patch of squirrely current (I was paddling a boat that was a little too small for me, not helping matters) that sent me spinning off my line and right towards the rock. When I realized I was not going to be able to avoid it, I leaned towards the rock and got the upstream edge of the kayak up as is recommended in this situation. The instant that I made contact with the rock I was pushed under ( the rock being about half the size of a semi trailer.) I was upside down and could feel my boat scraping along the underside of the rock and was wondering if the current would wash me out from under or push me back to the farthest point and hold me there. Suddenly the boat came to a complete stop and I decided it was better to bail out and see what happens. I kicked free of the kayak and felt myself float up and aginst rock again but I could see daylight now and the current seemed to be pushing me against the rock but also in the direction I wanted to go. One more push off and I floated to the surface at the downstream edge of the boulder. Yay! Also, my boat had washed free, ahead of me. Double Yay!! The members of my group and two other kayakers that were downstream were able to retrieve my paddle, boat and help me swim to the shore (still in strong current) where my stuff was.
I found out later that another paddler had washed under the same rock, the same day and escaped but his boat never came out.

Hm, 2 times on the operating table, both times heart stoppage for just under 5 minutes before they managet to get me going again.

Once had a full on anaphylaxis from pennicillin while in hospital. I told them I was allergic, but the stupid cunt wrote it on the paperwork but I didnt get the hot pink folder nor the bracelet so they didn’t listen to the little 12 year old kid protesting “but I am allergic to pennicillin …”

Once from toxemia from a pregnancy gone horribly wrong. Asshat of an exfiance said I was malingering and refused to take me to the doctor since I wasnt due to go for another 3 weeks so I sort of fermented for 3 weeks …